Businesses Overestimate Their Employees’ Trust, PwC Says

March 19, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-pwc

Business executives overestimate trust by both their employees and consumers creating a trust gap that has been widening, said PwC’s 2024 Trust Survey.

The survey that was released on March 12th epxlains that company employees are more likely to trust businesses in comparison to customers. However, according to the research 86% of 548 business executives think employee trust is high, compared to 67% of  2,039 employees who say they highly trust their employer. 

A gap that is credited to the lack of internal structures in places to consistently identify where the trust gap exists.

“Many companies say that they measure trust but, based on our conversations with business executives, those metrics are often subjective and don’t fully capture the current sentiment across stakeholder groups such as employees, customers and investors,” PwC said in its report.

Not only trust is lower but it is also getting harder to trust with 94% of the surveyed businesses reporting at least one challenge. Nonetheless, there is a lack of clear ownership of trust among leaders, in which 24% executives flagged this issue as a top-three challenge. 

“The lack of ownership reflects an opportunity for companies to clarify that trust should not be relegated to a single leader. Instead, it should be everyone’s responsibility, with clear objectives, metrics and incentives,” PwC said. 

Moreover, 24% of the executives said that the lack of clarity about what stakeholders want is a top challenge, with a need to have a “robust”  stakeholder engagement plan. 

The plan should outline how and when to communicate with the stakeholder groups to engage them in the strategy. The aim is to open up lines of communication so different stakeholders can be involved.

Peer trust among the C-suite is low with only 44% reporting their trust issue. A figure that is expected to potential other issues that would eventually impact the business to grow.

“For employees to feel trusted, it’s crucial for the members of the C-suite to trust each other. Only then can trust fully spread throughout the organization, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration,” said PwC.

Based on the survey findings, 86% of employers expressed trust in their employees, a figure surpassing employees’ expectations. 

Only 60% of the employees think that their leaders trust them. Most employees believed that the perceived lack of trust their leaders might have in them hinders their job performance.

PwC said that the degree of trust employers have in their employees is not correlated to the working model that the firm is adopting.

About 68% of business executives surveyed indicated equal trust in both remote and in-office employees, while 20% favored in-person employees. Despite this overall trust, 71% of employees believe that flexibility in work completion fosters trust.

However, only 43% of employers reported being able to provide such flexibility. Additionally, practices like monitoring online activity or tracking employees’ online presence diminish trust between employers and employees.


The HR Observer

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